Friday, November 30, 2012

Tony Stewart's list of 2012 NASCAR award winners

   Winners of the sixth annual ‘Stewie Awards’ were announced Thursday night by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart live on Sirius XM Radio and in front of a studio audience in Las Vegas.

   The ‘Stewie Award’ winners were decided by fans who voted for the best, boldest and funniest moments of the NASCAR season. 

   ‘The Stewies’ will be rebroadcast on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio several times over the coming weeks, including this Saturday, Dec. 1 (3 p.m. ET) and Sunday, Dec. 2 (7 p.m. ET).

   The 2012 winners of the 'Stewie Awards':

   Best Original Drama, For the year’s most dramatic moment or sequence -- The season-long “competitive drama” between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson lasts to the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix (11/11), the penultimate race of the Chase, when Jimmie Johnson loses a tire and hits the wall with less than 80 laps to go. Johnson was running seventh at the time and was only 3 points behind Brad Keselowski in the standings but the accident and Johnson’s 32nd place finish put him 20 back heading into season finale.

    Bonehead Move of the Year Award -- During the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas (10/21) Danica Patrick, in an attempt to spin Landon Cassill as payback for what she felt was overly aggressive driving, ends up putting herself into the wall.

    “Feels Like The First Time” Award, For the most notable “first” of the NASCAR season --  Dale Earnhardt Jr. ends a 144 race winless streak by taking the checkered flag at Michigan (6/17).

    Best Vocal Performance, For the year’s most memorable quote -- After the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega (5/6), Tony Stewart meets with the media and shares his thoughts on the wrecks during the race. Audio here:

    Best “Driver2Crew Chatter” -- Carl Edwards plays an April Fool’s joke on then crew chief Bob Osborne during the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville (4/1).   Audio here:

    Best Original Comedy, For the year’s most entertaining “incident” -- After the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (5/27) when no moderator shows for Matt Kenseth’s media availability, Kenseth takes it upon himself to host the proceedings.

    Hal Needham Award (Best Stunt Sequence), For the year’s most remarkable crash -- On lap 161 of the Daytona 500 (2/27), Juan Pablo Montoya loses control and hits a jet dryer in Turn 3. The fiery crash ignites a fuel spill that burns the track, causing a two hour race delay.

    ‘Boys, Have At It” Award -- Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer in the final laps of the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix (11/11).

    The Social Stewie Award, For the year’s best tweet -- @MattKenseth: “Talked to #DaleJr yesterday, told him I was glad he was coming back…being the most popular driver was really hard work. #imkidding” (10/23)

    Golden Stewie Award honoring a legendary figure from the Golden Era of racing -- Presented to journalist and broadcaster Dr. Dick Berggren.

    “Stewie” Lifetime Achievement Award -- Presented to longtime broadcaster Bob Jenkins.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Check out the 2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paul Wolfe earns crew chief of the year honors

   Coming off of a 2012 season that featured five wins, 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes and culminated with a Sprint Cup Series Championship, Paul Wolfe, crew chief for the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, has been named the Kimberly-Clark Professional Crew Chief of the Year.

    During the 10-race Chase for the Cup, Wolfe and driver Brad Keselowski notched exceptional results including eight top-10 finishes, a win in the opening race of the Chase and another two-weeks later at Dover.

    In the hunt for the top crew chief honor for 2012, Wolfe topped Chad Knaus, crew chief for the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet and Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.

    "The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge and Penske Racing team put in a lot of hard work and countless hours in pursuit of this achievement and I'd like to accept this award on behalf of the entire Penske Racing organization," Wolfe said.

2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule



Date Site

2/22 Daytona International Speedway

4/6 Martinsville Speedway

4/14 Rockingham Speedway

4/20 Kansas Speedway

5/17 Charlotte Motor Speedway

5/31 Dover International Speedway

6/7 Texas Motor Speedway

6/27 Kentucky Speedway

7/13 Iowa Speedway

7/24 Eldora Speedway

8/3 Pocono Raceway

8/17 Michigan International Speedway

8/21 Bristol Motor Speedway

9/1 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

9/8 Iowa Speedway

9/13 Chicagoland Speedway

9/28 Las Vegas Motor Speedway

10/19 Talladega Superspeedway

10/26 Martinsville Speedway

11/1 Texas Motor Speedway

11/8 Phoenix International Raceway

11/15 Homestead-Miami Speedway

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Revving up for 2013 NASCAR season

   Tickets are now available for the 2013 NASCAR Acceleration Weekend, Feb. 8-10 in Charlotte which will celebrate NASCAR's past, present and future.
   Kicking off the weekend is the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2013 Induction Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 8 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Crown Ballroom. Legends Buck Baker, Cotton Owens, Herb Thomas, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Wood will encompass the fourth class enshrined in the sport’s Hall.
   Acceleration Weekend revs up Saturday, Feb. 9 at NASCAR Preview 2013 where fans get a behind-the-scenes pass into NASCAR with autograph and on-stage Q&A sessions at the Charlotte Convention Center with drivers from all three national series. The new 2013 Sprint Cup cars will be on display, along with interactive displays, giveaways and .
   Tickets start at $20 for the 2013 NASCAR Preview and includes same-day access to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tickets to both events are on sale now at

Monday, November 26, 2012

NASCAR Champion's Week activities

   This week's schedule of NASCAR Champion's Week activities
   Tuesday – Wednesday, Nov. 27-28
   NASCAR 2012 Motorsports Marketing Forum: The 13th annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum, presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, is the motorsports industry’s most comprehensive business forum. Held at Aria Resort & Casino, the Forum will feature an array of insight and perspective from sports and marketing executives both within and outside the motorsports industry. Keselowski will be in attendance for the champion’s “fireside chat.” For more information, visit
   NASCAR Live: Motor Racing Network’s third annual champion’s edition of “NASCAR Live” with Eli Gold will be held at Wynn Las Vegas Race and Sports Book Tuesday, Nov. 27, starting at 4 p.m. PT. Gold will spend the hour with the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, taking calls and answering questions from the live audience.
   Tuesday – Saturday, Nov. 27-Dec. 1
   NASCAR Pit Stop Tour: The Pit Stop Tour consists of Official Partner show cars featured in iconic locations throughout the Las Vegas strip from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. PT each day. Fans can get up close and personal with the cars at the following locations: Welcome to Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Blvd. (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Car); Coca-Cola Store (Coca-Cola); New York, New York (Chevrolet); Bally’s (Ford); and Fashion Show (Toyota).
   Wednesday, Nov. 28
   Fanfest Presented by Las Vegas Motor Speedway: The fourth annual Fanfest event will be held on Fremont Street, and begin at 2 p.m. PT, with the arrival of the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The event will consist of a red carpet walk by the 12 drivers followed by a special “game show format” on-stage event featuring the drivers and hosted by nationally known comedian Carrot Top. Race fans will have the chance to win two tickets to the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards to be held two nights later at Wynn Las Vegas. Highlights from the event can be viewed on Wednesday evening.
   Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Reception: This year’s finalists for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be honored at a reception at Wynn Las Vegas from 6-7 p.m. PT Following, The NASCAR Foundation will announce the Award winner during this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Nov. 30. Fans can cast their vote to determine the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award winner by visiting before 11:59 p.m. ET November 29.
   Thursday, Nov. 29
   Chevrolet SS Race Car Unveiled at Wynn Las Vegas: A press conference will be held, at 9:30 a.m. PT, at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas, to unveil the 2013 Chevrolet SS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car. Media attendance is encouraged; however, this event is not open to the public. The event will be streamed live on
   NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will be held from 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. PT, in the Encore Ballroom at Encore Las Vegas, where several team awards will be presented. Among those awards included are the Champion Sponsor, Champion Crew Chief, Sunoco Rookie of the Year and NMPA Most Popular Driver awards. The event will be streamed live on
   NASCAR Victory Lap: The green flag on fan-favorite NASCAR Victory Lap will wave at 3:30 p.m. PT, with pre-lap festivities to begin at 3 p.m. PT, when the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will parade down Las Vegas Blvd. in their race cars with engines roaring. NASCAR Victory Lap will start and finish on Las Vegas Blvd., in front of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and will once again provide fans with a unique experience to feel the excitement of a NASCAR start line, feature an authentic pit stop (performed by members of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program presented by Sprint) and two burn-out sections for drivers — with viewing areas along the route. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and streamed live on
   NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola: One of the premier events of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, NASCAR After the Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. PT, at PH LIVE located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Fans can purchase tickets at for $20 each (all proceeds benefit The NASCAR Foundation) to attend the unpredictable, unforgettable driver tell-all event featuring the top 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers. The event will be broadcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 and live streamed on
   The Stewie Awards: Following NASCAR After The Lap, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum will host the sixth annual “Stewie Awards,” a lighthearted year-in-review, which airs live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.
   Friday, Nov. 30
   2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The postseason, black tie event will begin at 5 p.m. PT at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion driver and owner will be crowned and the top 10 drivers in the final standings will be honored. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the culmination of Champion’s Week, will feature red carpet arrivals, celebrity guests, music and entertainment. Hosted by “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, the show will feature performances by Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and entertainers from The Beatles LOVE. SPEED, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the event. Prior to the awards, will live stream a Miss Sprint Cup chat with Brad Keselowski.

Cautions? Not so much this NASCAR season

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season had a significant decrease in the number of cautions compared to the previous three seasons.

There were 216 cautions during the 36-race Cup series season. There were 305 cautions in the 2009 season, 265 in 2010 and 278 last season.

Some additional caution statistics provided by Darnell Communications:

Most Cautions in a Race
2012 – 14 (Kansas 2)
2011 – 18 (Martinsville 2)
2010 – 15 (Martinsville 2)
2009 – 17 (Darlington)

Fewest Cautions in a Race
2012 – 1 (Fontana)
2011 – 3 (New Hampshire 2)
2010 – 3 (Richmond 2)
2009 – 3 (Michigan 1, Indianapolis)

Most Caution Laps in a Race
2012 – 87 (Bristol 2)
2011 – 108 (Martinsville 2)
2010 – 103 (Bristol 2)
2009 – 73 (Martinsville 1)

Most Miles Under Caution
2012 – 105.000 (Daytona 1)
2011 – 150.000 (Daytona 1)
2010 – 100.000 (Daytona 1)
2009 – 99.718 (Darlington)

Races Extended Due to Caution
2012 – 10
2011 – 7
2010 – 7
2009 – 5

Races Shortened Due To Weather
2012 – 2
2011 – 0
2010 – 0
2009 – 3

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jeb Burton joins Turner Motorsports

   Turner Motorsports announced this week it signed Jeb Burton, the son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, to a two-year contract to run fulltime in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a limited Nationwide Series schedule in 2013 and 2014.

   Jeb Burton, who made his first Truck Series start at Martinsville Speedway this past March, has one top-10 finishes in five career starts.

   "I'm really proud that I can race for Turner Motorsports over the next two years," Burton, 20, said. "This team has had so much success, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to work with such a quality team."

   Said team owner Steve Turner: "I'm really excited that we will have Jeb under the Turner Motorsports umbrella. Everyone at Turner Motorsports feels he has the skills to be successful in NASCAR and we are eager to welcome him to our team."

   Ward Burton will also join Turner Motorsports to assist with driver development.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Brad Keselowski's Top 10 list on Letterman

   2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski made an appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Tuesday night.

    Keselowski's Top 10 list?

    The "Top 10 Signs You're Not Cut Out To Be A Race Car Driver:"

    10. You're only in it for the intensely vibrating seat.

    9. You've always felt that passing other cars is rude.

    8. Terms of your parole won't let you leave Delaware.

    7. All this week, you've been stockpiling Twinkies.

    6. Friends know you as "Mr. Motion Sickness."

    5. You're existentially opposed to the starting line and finish line being the same line.

    4. You know what "existentially" means.

    3. You don't like to be rushed.

    2. You can't even handle high-speed Internet.

    1. More than 10 minutes sitting? Crippling ass cramps.

Jeff Burton has wrist surgery

    Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton had successful, minor wrist surgery on Tuesday to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, his team announced.

   "After feeling some reoccurring symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, my physician and I decided routine surgery would be best for this situation," said Burton, who was back at home soon after the outpatient procedure.

   "There is no such thing as an offseason in this sport so I wanted to get it done as soon as possible to be ready for my Caterpillar Visitors Center appearance with Richard (Childress) early next month. Plus, we have many test sessions planned in December with the No. 31 Chevrolet team in preparation for the 2013 season with my new crew chief Luke Lambert. I will be ready to go."

   The 2013 Cup season will be Burton's 20th fulltime year. The South Boston, Va., native has amassed 21 wins, 132 top-five and 248 top-10 finishes, six poles and led 6,513 laps during his career. He finished 19th in the series standings this season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Danica Patrick announces divorce

   In a posting to her Facebook page and a message posted to, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick on Tuesday announced she and her husband of seven years, Paul Hospenthal, are getting divorced.
   “I am sad to inform my fans that after 7 years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage,” Patrick wrote in her Facebook post.
   “This isn't easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that's how we will remain moving forward."
   Hospenthal, 47, and Patrick, 30, married in November 2005 in Arizona. They have no children.
   Patrick, a former IndyCar series driver, finished 10th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings this season, with four top-10 finishes in 33 races. In voting on, she was named the series' most popular driver.
   Patrick will drive fulltime in 2013 in the Sprint Cup Series for Stewart-Haas Racing.
   A spokesperson for Patrick confirmed the divorce and said Patrick would have no other public comment.

Regan Smith gets crew chief at JR Motorsports

   Greg Ives, who served as race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s run of five consecutive Sprint Cup Series championships, has been named crew chief for JR Motorsports and driver Regan Smith for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

   Ives, 33, and Smith, 29, will spearhead JRM’s bid for a 2013 championship in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Smith won his first race with JR Motorsports last Saturday at Homestead, Fla.

   “Regan’s win on Saturday and the announcement of Greg’s hiring are huge momentum boosts for this company going into the off-season,” said team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Greg comes highly regarded. He has been a huge part of the No. 48 team’s success, and this is a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet as a crew chief."

   Team manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said JRM will likely field just one fulltime Nationwide team in 2013 with Smith and a second part-time team featuring Earnhardt Jr. and other select drivers.

   Until now, Ives has spent all nine years of his NASCAR career at Hendrick Motorsports. A native of Bark River, Mich., and a graduate of Michigan Technological University, Ives began as a mechanic in the then 24/48 (now 48/88) shop in 2004 before moving into an engineering role on the No. 48 team in 2006.

   “Whether I realized it or not, each of my nine years at Hendrick Motorsports recognizing my goals early and giving me opportunities to ultimately reach them," Ives said.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Two NASCAR champions crowned Monday night

Four of NASCAR's brightest young stars occupied the spotlight Monday night as champions in two national series were crowned.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 25, and James Buescher, 22, officially were proclaimed champions of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively, on the Americana Ballroom stage at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Stenhouse was honored for becoming just the sixth competitor in series history to win consecutive Nationwide titles. Buescher becomes the second-youngest champion in the Truck Series' 18-year history. Stenhouse won six times during the 2011 season while Buescher's four victories were most in the Truck Series.

Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Toyota Camry won the Nationwide Series owners championship, with Joey Logano winning seven times in the car. The title is JGR's fourth in the last five seasons matching Richard Childress Racing for most in the series. Its last came in 2010.

Turner Motorsports won its first Truck Series Owner Championship. Texan Steve Turner's No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado, with Buescher behind the wheel, won the title in the organization's fifth season in the series.

Austin Dillon, 22, won Nationwide Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Dillon is the third competitor to win rookie championships in both Nationwide and Truck series. Ty Dillon, 20, won the Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. The Dillon brothers are the first siblings to capture NCWTS freshman titles.

Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Michael Annett finished second through fifth in the championship standings and were honored along with Stenhouse in the Nationwide Series.

Timothy Peters, Joey Coulter, Ty Dillon and Parker Kligerman were second through fifth in the Truck Series final points and joined Buescher on stage.

After a fan vote on in which nearly 120,000 combined votes were cast, each series' Most Popular Driver was revealed. Danica Patrick and Nelson Piquet Jr. were chosen by fans in the Nationwide and Truck series, respectively. Each was honored for the first time.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Video: Does Brad Keselowski title signal a new era in NASCAR?

Does Brad Keselowski's first NASCAR championship signal a new era? CineSport's Brian Clark & The NASCAR Wire Service's Reid Spencer discuss this and what went wrong for Jimmie Johnson on Sunday.

'What part of no brakes don't you understand?'

   During Sunday's Ford 400, Joey Meier, the spotter for driver Brad Keselowski, made a comment over the team radio referencing a quote, "What part of he doesn't have any brakes don't you understand"?

   After clinching his first Sprint Cup Series championship, Keselowski was asked the meaning behind the statement. It turns out, it relates to a story from a race early in Keselowski's career.

   Let him tell you the story:

   “Joey (Meier) is my spotter, and the first time I worked with him was -- it might have -- it was the first couple races I worked.  I'm not going to say it was the first time but really close to the first time, I was at Charlotte in 2007 in the spring race, and my dad was crew chiefing, and we were driving -- I was driving, I should say, this car for this guy out of Kentucky, and it was really underfunded and we made the show.  And keep in mind 2007 was a really tough year to make the Nationwide races with all the double digit cars and so forth, and we made the show and it was great and it was anything I could have dreamed it of, and it was just one of those starting to break in.

   “So Joey is alluding to that because we were together as we were breaking in, or he had already been part of the sport but I was breaking in with him and that's when our relationship really started. And so anyway, this race -- there's two parts to this story.  We changed our right front spring once in practice, and Paul will appreciate this because he's a crew chief and a car guy, but in order to put a right front spring in you've got to lower the suspension down, and these cars have brake lines in them, and it's flexible brake line, but the way the spring went in the brake line was too short and it broke.

   “So we changed the spring and I went out on the track, and about that time, the yellow came out for practice, somebody wrecked, and it was right at the end of practice, and so practice got canceled right there, but I was already out on the line. And for those of you that have been to Charlotte and know how that works, at the end of Nationwide practice, Cup qualifying begins, and so for whatever reason, I don't remember exactly why, instead of doing a lap around the track and returning to the garage, everybody did like this half lap backwards down that quarter-mile track they have at Charlotte.  Well, I didn't realize I didn't have any brakes.  We grabbed like second or third gear, we're going like 65 miles an hour backwards around this racetrack, and I make this right-hander into the quarter mile, and the whole Cup field is there for qualifying, and I mean the whole Cup field, and I'm going like 60 miles an hour, and I go to hit the brakes. Nothing.

   "All I can see is all these people, all these cars, and Jeff Gordon's car is right in front of me.  I've got no brakes, and I'm out of control. So I make this hard left and go through the infield, and I just tear this car all up, and the wrecker driver comes and gets me, and he yells in the window in this very southern voice a couple obscenities, basically saying what were you doing. I'm like, I didn't have any brakes. So as it would happen, we replaced that brake line with another brake line that just happened to be even shorter and broke in the race. So we get in the race and we do this first run in the race, and I'm running pretty good, I'm running like 15th or 20th, which again, for where I was at in my career was great, it was awesome. That was all I could ask for.

   “And there's a green flag pit cycle, and getting ready for the green flag pit cycle and I pushed the brakes, we're halfway through the run and the brake line breaks off this car, and so this car won't stop, won't stop.  So we talk about it for 15, 20 laps, and we're talking about when this green flag pit stop comes we're going to have to get the car stopped because the car is not going to stop, it's got no brakes. And we get on pit road and I go to pull into my pit stall and everybody jumps across the wall, jack in hand, everything, and everyone forgot that I had no brakes, and I just, vroom, right through the pit stall.

   “So I go -- this is in the middle of green flag pit stops, so I am like 20 boxes down, no brakes, so the whole crew runs over and starts to push the car backwards, and I get -- Joey is spotting the whole time, and Joey is over the radio, oh, my God, and Joey is real exaggerated about it.  They're pushing my car backwards really, really fast, and I get five stalls away, and they're pushing me backwards, and they do this like push off motion like a bobsled. So what happens?  I still have no brakes.  So I'm going down pit road at what feels like 35 miles an hour.  I know a human being can only run like 10 or 15, but it felt like this car was going 30 miles an hour backwards under green in the middle of green flag pit stops, no brakes.  And of course so what happens, I go flying through the pit box backwards and almost end up on the racetrack backwards.

   “My dad comes over the radio at that moment and goes, 'What part of no brakes don't you understand?'  And he just goes off on these crew guys. For me and for Joey, that was one of those moments where we bonded together and just have told that story, and Joey has been with me almost ever since. So that's how far Joey and I have come together. But we still tell that story all the time. So now you know the story. That's my racing story.
   “I don't think you guys have heard that, either, have you?"

   Not until now.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Danica Patrick sets NASCAR record

   Danica Patrick ended the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season 10th in the series standings, finishing 22 points ahead of 11th place Joe Nemechek.

   Patrick set the record for the highest-finishing female driver in NASCAR national series history.

   The previous record was held by Sara Christian, who finished 13th in the Sprint Cup series standings in 1949 – 63 years ago.

Brian France on how NASCAR faces sponsorship issues

   NASCAR unveiled some new changes to paint schemes on cars in the Sprint Cup Series beginning next season.

   The most prominent change is drivers' last names will appear on the front windshield of the cars. Sponsor logos will be allowed on the roof for the first time, as well some other smaller changes.

   Asked if the changes were part of a broader effort to provide a greater platform for sponsors in the sport, NASCAR Chairman Brian France talked about the difficulties the sport has faced with a struggling economy and changes to advertising budgets of companies.

    "Well, we have traditional things that you would think we would have at our disposal, making the space available differently and smarter on the car. That's one thing. There's being ever mindful of the cost issue being another. But we're not going to be in a position to change the economy, how just about every company is being much more judicious and careful with their advertising expense, no matter how well they work," France said. "They're not in a position as they were a few years ago to make big bets out over long periods of time at the level that they were. It's understandable.

   "And then you throw in from an economy standpoint that our fans, the best in the world, drive the furthest, they stay the longest, they often as you guys know build their race weekends around family vacations and all kinds of things. Well, the cost to do that and the unemployment, when you don't have a job and the costs are still going up, it isn't hard to understand why we will be in a little bit different position. So we're working on all those things, and we're doing everything we can.  Things will get better on that, and they have gotten better in some areas.

   "We've put a lot of new companies into the sport. We'll always have some attrition, too, so a lot of these companies are starting to get early good results, like 5‑hour Energy drink being one, and there are a number of companies that we have. But we're more reliant, there's no doubt about that, on corporate sponsorship."


RPM re-signs Almirola, Ambrose for 2013 Sprint Cup season

   Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed Saturday it had re-signed its current drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola, for the 2013 season. Ambrose will enter his third season driving for the organization. He will again be behind the wheel of the No. 9 Ford. Almirola will begin his second season as the driver of the No. 43 Ford.  

   Ambrose has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes, including two victories at Watkins Glen, N.Y., during his stint with Petty.
   "It's good to come back to Richard Petty Motorsports and focus on our future together," said Ambrose. "We had success this year and recently have made plans to get better for 2013 and beyond. It was great to win at Watkins Glen, earn my first two poles and also have the opportunity to make the Chase this year."
   Almirola is completing his first full season in the Cup series. He has one top-five and three top-10 finishes and won his first career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.  

   "We went through some changes this season, but since being paired with Todd (Parrott) and this crew, I've had the most fun I've had in a Cup car," said Almirola. "I think we have a lot of things 'clicking' right now and have a lot of momentum heading into 2013."

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 NASCAR Truck Series final standings

   Final points standings for 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

   1. James Buescher, 808 points
   2. Timothy Peters, 802
   3. Joey Coulter, 789
   4. Ty Dillon, 784
   5. Parker Kligerman, 778
   6. Matt Crafton, 759
   7. Nelson Piquet Jr., 747
   8. Justin Lofton, 710
   9. Johnny Sauter, 678
   10. Miguel Paludo, 668


Hornish, Blaney set to return to Penske in 2013

   Penske Racing owner Roger Penske said Friday former IndyCar champion Sam Hornish Jr. will return to the organization next season and run for the Nationwide Series championship with the No. 12 team.

   Penske said Hornish will also likely run some races in a third Cup car in 2013.

   "We have a commitment for a number of Cup races on a third car, which Sam will be there to run those races," Penske said.

   Penske said he also expected Ryan Blaney to drive for Brad Keselowski’s Truck team next season as well as run a handful of Nationwide races for Penske.

   "It's not a done deal," Penske said of the Blaney rides. "We started with him maybe running two or three this year and I think he'll end up with seven or eight. We think that he's a fine young man, and he's got a lot to learn like they all do, but I think he's certainly coming from a family that's been racing, and he seems to have the talent."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Carl Edwards: From nearly first to worst?

   One year ago, Carl Edwards rolled into the Sprint Cup Series season finale in a neck-and-neck battle with Tony Stewart. While Edwards won just one race last season, he and his No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing team had remarkable consistency and contended for wins on a weekly basis.

    So, what's happened?

    Edwards goes to Sunday’s season finale without a win and having failed to qualify for the Chase this season.

    He is ranked 15th in points with just three top fives and 13 top 10s. The 2012 season statistically is Edwards’ worst in his eight years as a full-time series competitor.

    Homestead-Miami Speedway, however, is a good place to kick-start 2013 and end the year on a positive note – for Edwards and RFR. RFR has won seven of 13 Homestead races – including five in a row between 2004 and 2008.

    While a victory would certainly be welcomed in the Edwards camp, it is far from the season they had envisioned.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Edwards, Stenhouse get new crew chiefs for 2013

   Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig will lead Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Sprint Cup team in 2013. Fennig currently works with driver Matt Kenseth, who is leaving RFR at the end of the season.

   In addition, Scott Graves will lead the No. 17 team and defending Nationwide Series Champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during his rookie campaign in the Cup series next season.
   “We are excited about this change on both fronts,” said team owner Jack Roush. “Pairing two highly successful veterans like Carl and Jimmy should be quite a matchup and it is our expectation based on what Jimmy has been able to accomplish with many high profile drivers, that it will provide the spark to get the No. 99 program and Carl back into championship form.
   “However, we are particularly excited about teaming up Scott Graves and Ricky. Through his extensive research and development work, Scott has an excellent understanding of the new 2013 body style. In his short time as a crew chief he has demonstrated a cunning knack as a leader on the pit box and he is going to be a great match for Ricky as he makes his move upwards into the Sprint Cup ranks.”

   Fennig has 36 career Cup wins and won the 2004 Cup title with driver Kurt Busch. Graves won a Nationwide Series race this season with driver Carl Edwards in Graves' first race as a crew chief.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mid-Ohio joins 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule

    NASCAR on Tuesday unveiled the 2013 schedule for its Nationwide Series, a lineup that includes a trip to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for the first time in series history.

   Mid-Ohio, a 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course marks the return of NASCAR to Ohio, the home state of the series’ Columbus-based entitlement sponsor, Nationwide Insurance. Mid-Ohio’s Aug. 17 race joins the series’ lineup of road courses, including Road America (June 22) and Watkins Glen (Aug. 10).

   “This gives us the opportunity to bring the series’ signature side-by-side racing to a new fan base, and build enthusiasm among race fans that have yet to experience the unparalleled experience of attending a NASCAR event," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations.

   “This is a competitive and well-balanced schedule that challenges our drivers and teams with a variety of different tracks and distances. It’s a schedule that the fans will enjoy.”

   The balance of the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide schedule maintains a familiar feel, with a strong mix of short tracks, road courses, intermediate race tracks and superspeedways.

   Daytona International Speedway hosts the season opener on Feb. 23. That race also will feature the introduction of Chevrolet’s Camaro into the series. The series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway is set for Nov. 16. Next season’s schedule includes six “standalone” race dates: Iowa Speedway (June 8 and Aug. 3), Chicagoland Speedway (July 21), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 21), Road America and Mid-Ohio.


Date Site

2/23 Daytona International Speedway

3/2 Phoenix International Raceway

3/9 Las Vegas Motor Speedway

3/16 Bristol Motor Speedway

3/23 Auto Club Speedway

4/12 Texas Motor Speedway

4/26 Richmond International Raceway

5/4 Talladega Superspeedway

5/10 Darlington Raceway

5/25 Charlotte Motor Speedway

6/1 Dover International Speedway

6/8 Iowa Speedway

6/15 Michigan International Speedway

6/22 Road America

6/28 Kentucky Speedway

7/5 Daytona International Speedway

7/13 New Hampshire Motor Speedway

7/21 Chicagoland Speedway

7/27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

8/3 Iowa Speedway

8/10 Watkins Glen International

8/17 Mid-Ohio

8/23 Bristol Motor Speedway

8/31 Atlanta Motor Speedway

9/6 Richmond International Raceway

9/14 Chicagoland Speedway

9/21 Kentucky Speedway

9/28 Dover International Speedway

10/5 Kansas Speedway

10/11 Charlotte Motor Speedway

11/2 Texas Motor Speedway

11/9 Phoenix International Raceway

11/16 Homestead-Miami Speedway

Monday, November 12, 2012

NASCAR Truck Series headed to dirt

   The NASCAR Truck Series will race next season on the half-mile dirt track at Eldora Speedway near Rossburg, Ohio, multiple sources confirmed to The Observer and 

   An official announcement of the move could come any time.

   The race is set for the Wednesday before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will feature four heat races and a 100-lap main event, sources said.

   The race would be the first on dirt for any of NASCAR’s three national series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Trucks - in its "modern era."

   The track, owned by Cup driver Tony Stewart, does not have energy-absorbing SAFER barriers installed and no permanent medical facility on property.

   Sources said NASCAR is expected to waive its policy – adapted beginning in 2005 – that SAFER barriers be installed at all oval tracks hosting its three national series. Why NASCAR is willing to make an exception in this case is unclear.

   Eldora Speedway, built in 1954 by Earl Baltes, has a permanent seating capacity of approximately 20,000. Stewart has hosted a charity race featuring many NASCAR drivers at the track since 2005.

Who needs to do what to win a NASCAR title

   Here are the clinching scenarios for NASCAR's three national series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks:

   -Brad Keselowski leads five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson by 20 points going into Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski clinches his first Cup championship with a finish of 15th or better; or 16th and at least one lap led; or 17th and the most laps led, even if Johnson wins and leads the most laps. All other drivers have been eliminated from championship consideration.

   -Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who leads by 20 points over second-place Elliott Sadler, will clinch the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship with a finish of 16th or better; or 17th or better with at least one lap led; or 18th or better with most laps led at Homestead. In the owners championship battle, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota guarantees a clinch of the title with a finish of 28th or better; or 29th or better with at least one lap led; or 30th or better with the most laps led. The No. 18 currently leads the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford by 33 points.
   -James Buescher has an 11-point lead over Timothy Peters heading into the Camping World Truck Series finale. Buescher guarantees himself his first championship with a finish of seventh or better with no laps led; or eighth or better with one lap led; or ninth or better with the most laps led. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keselowski takes offense

   Brad Keselowski took the Sprint Cup Series points lead and is in prime position to win his first series championship.

   But he was no fan of how the final laps unfolded at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Asked about what bothered him most, Keselowski offered this up:

   "Well, it's the double‑standard that I spent a whole week being bashed by a half a dozen drivers about racing hard at Texas and how I'm out of control and have a death wish, and then I see ... that. That's (expletive). That's all you can call that," Keselowski said.
   "These guys just tried to kill each other. You race hard and I get called (expletive) for racing hard and called with a death wish, and I see ...  that (expletive). It's ... ridiculous, and they should be ashamed. It's embarrassing."

NASCAR K&N West champion makes history

   Dylan Kwasniewski made more history Saturday night.
   The 17-year-old Las Vegas driver captured the 2012 championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with a second-place finish in the Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

    A year after becoming the youngest race winner and youngest rookie of the year in series history, he became the youngest series champion.

   Kwasniewski entered the event with a two-point lead over teammate and defending series champion Greg Pursley in one of the closest championship battles in the history of the series.

   “All we had to do was finish in front of Greg and that’s what we did,” Kwasniewski said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team and my mom. My dad started all this for me and this race was for him and this championship is for him,” Kwasniewski said of his late father. “To be out here in Phoenix and to get the championship, there’s no better feeling.”

   Michael Self, who started the race on the outside of the front row, shot into the lead at the drop of the green flag and paced the entire 50 laps to score his third career win – all this season.

   At 17 years 5 months 10 days, Kwasniewski eclipsed the previous record set by Chuck Bown in 1976 at 22 years, 7 months, 11 days.